Organized Crime

Gangster Era Reborn: Unearthed Crime Scenes from New York’s Prohibition Underworld

Nearly 100 years later, there's still new information to discover.
Joseph Pinzolo in his younger days as a Black Hand extortionist

TYING UP LOOSE ENDS: THE MURDER OF JOSEPH PINZOLO (SEPTEMBER 5, 1930)

There were not many mourners when Joseph Pinzolo was murdered in his office a mere few weeks after Giuseppe Morello. Pinzolo had been appointed by Masseria to lead the family of Gaetano Reina, who had been murdered in February. Many in Reina’s family suspected Masseria’s involvement in their boss’s slaying and resented him picking the selection of Masseria loyalist to lead them. Furthermore, there were rumblings that Pinzolo himself was the triggerman in Reina’s death.

Perhaps emboldened by Masseria losing Morello, the Reina crew (lead by underboss Tommy Gagliano and Tommy Lucchese) went about planning Pinzolo’s demise.

I got the break of my life. I caught him alone in the office.

Girolamo “Bobby Doyle” Santuccio

Pinzolo’s office was located in room #1007 of California Dry Fruits at 1457 Broadway in Manhattan. Santuccio, a seasoned gunman with the Reina crew, pumped several bullets into Pinzolo and left him face down by his desk.

Joe Valachi later revealed in government testimony that the Reina faction later feigned innocence to Masseria during a sit down while secretly aligning with Maranzano.

The murder of Joseph Pinzolo from the view of his suspected killer Girolamo “Bobby Doyle” Santuccio

Photo of body and scene where Joseph Penzolo was found dead, 13100a: Courtesy of the New York Municipal Archives
Joseph Penzolo up-close

Photo of body and scene where Joseph Penzolo was found dead, 13100b: Courtesy of the New York Municipal Archives
Outside view of Pinzolo’s office, allegedly secured four months before the murder by Tommy Lucchese.

Photo of body and scene where Joseph Penzolo was found dead, 13100c: Courtesy of the New York Municipal Archives

SOURCES

The Valachi Papers, Peter Maas

The Origin of Organized Crime in America: The New York City Mafia, 1891-1931, David Critchley

16 comments

  1. Are there anymore gangsters pictures from the archives? They were incredible. The Vincent Coll pictures were insane. I’d love to see some of Maseria and Marrazano. That would be incredible. Please let everyone know if there’s anymore being released. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for checking it out, Jonathan! So Masseria and Maranzano photos remain big targets for me. My take is they have to be somewhere, just a matter of if the Archives have it or the NYPD themselves. Believe it or not, even all these decades later there’s still records the NYPD haven’t transferred over to the Archives. There’s definitely more gangster photos. The tricky thing with the searches is that a lot of times the names are completely misspelled due the officers who arrived on scene (you’ll notice this on some of the pictures as that’s how they’re listed in the Archives records). So, it’s really a grind to go through the records but so worth it when you find gems like these. Rest assured, once the pandemic slows down and the Archives are open to the public, I’ll be right back in there searching.

      1. Couldn’t email you directly but try this – At the bottom of the first page on the site, you should should see a list of numbers going horizontally across the page in little boxes. Each of these represents a different page with the pictures. If you’re on a mobile device, it’ll be right before title of the next article.

    1. Appreciate the support James and I absolutely loved your Youtube video! You put a big smile on my face and I’ll proudly carry that new favorite person title haha Once the pandemic slows down and the Archives reopen, I plan to get right back in there digging for more gems.

  2. Amazing pictures. Nice research Ismael. I enjoyed it including the stories that go with it. I hope you find more (Greetings from the Netherlands)

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